VIKINGS fans could see their promotion-winning heroes back in action sooner than expected.
The club are considering warm-up matches against Super League opposition over the Christmas period.
Festive friendlies would certainly whet the appetite for the main course to follow and give Neil Kelly chance to step up preparations which would by then be well-advanced.
Widnes chairman Tony Chambers said: 'Neil has indicated he would like to have a couple of friendly games over the Christmas period.
'I am sure he would want them to be against Super League opposition and preferably local teams.
'St Helens have already offered, through their coach Ian Millward, to have a friendly against us.'
The Vikings board were meeting last night to look at which current squad members Widnes would like to keep, and also potential transfer targets.
'We will be running through Neil's recommendations and some ideas about how we build the squad,' said Chambers.
Several big names are still being linked with a move to the Auto Quest while one man on Kelly's wanted list may be Welsh international prop Keith Mason, 19, of Wakefield Trinity Wildcats.
The majority of the Grand Final winners contracts expire in November and the club will be looking to negotiate new Super League deals with the players they want to retain, with the prolific Phil Cantillon inevitably being a high priority.
Coach Kelly heads for Australia next week on a fact-finding mission, which will double as a scouting trip.
He will work with Sydney City Roosters, coached by ex-Leeds boss Graham Murray.
Chambers said: 'Neil will be going to Australia as part of a Rugby League coach development programme and willbetalking to people about players and their availability.'